Architecture of the Islamic West North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, 700–1800 Jonathan M. Bloom

Publication date:
23 Jun 2020
Yale University Press
320 pages: 267 x 216mm
281 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:


An authoritative survey situating some of the Western world’s most renowned buildings within a millennium of Islamic history

Some of the most outstanding examples of world architecture, such as the Mosque of Córdoba, the ceiling of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo, the Giralda tower in Seville, and the Alhambra Palace in Granada, belong to the Western Islamic tradition. This architectural style flourished for over a thousand years along the southern and western shores of the Mediterranean—between Tunisia and Spain—from the 8th century through the 19th, blending new ideas with local building practices from across the region.
Jonathan M. Bloom’s Architecture of the Islamic West introduces readers to the full scope of this vibrant tradition, presenting both famous and little-known buildings in six countries in North Africa and southern Europe. It is richly illustrated with photographs, specially commissioned architectural plans, and historical documents. The result is a personally guided tour of Islamic architecture led by one of the finest scholars in the field and a powerful testament to Muslim cultural achievement.

Jonathan M. Bloom was the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professor of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College and the Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair of Islamic Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“For more than a millennium, as this richly illustrated volume affirms, Islamic architectural styles prospered around the western and southern Mediterranean - from the Alhambra to the Cappella Palatina.”—Apollo Magazine

“[A] thorough and well-researched book, which draws attention to the fascinating histories of a variety of different Muslim peoples, as well as to the architectural history of regions across the Islamic West…Engaging and informative...Bloom persuasively suggests that the transmission of architectural knowledge, ideas, and motifs was a great deal more complex than scholars previously thought.”—Lydia Ann Jesudason, Aspectus [Journal of Visual Culture, University of York]

“A confident and accurate book that could only be accomplished by a mature scholar...Far more than this, it is a book of someone whose enthusiasm for his subject is as strong as his ability to use a broad knowledge of Islamic and European art to focus it.”—Nancy Steinhardt, Orientations

“A formidable collection of architectural knowledge...It is made more accessible by being woven into a rich narrative thread that takes the reader from the medieval to the modern world...An unparalleled collection through which the Islamic architectural history of the region can be better understood and relished.”—Shahed Saleem, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles 2021